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THE DIVISION

Strong firefights lost in the open-world static.

"It’s not too hard to find nice things to say about Tom Clancy’s The Division, especially as it unfurls in its strong opening hours: its open-world version of Manhattan is both gorgeous and authentic, its cover-based third-person combat is sound, and its RPG elements run surprisingly deep. And yet, next to every good thing The Division does, there hangs a big, ugly asterisk. That same open world is barren and unengaging, combat gets bogged down with samey waves of walking bullet sponges, and character progression is awkwardly fractured in inconvenient ways. Outside of the tension of the PvPvE Dark Zone, there’s little that makes this virtual Manhattan feel alive or dangerous.

Visually, The Division leans heavily but very effectively on the all-too-familiar iconography of post-biological-disaster Manhattan. Coming out of an early security checkpoint, daylight blinded me until my “eyes” adjusted, and then I saw it: an improvised memorial to those who had given their lives trying to take Manhattan back from the chaos that's swallowed it in the wake of an unprecedented terror attack."

"What’s more, having to return to your base in order to spend points and gain other benefits is an odd, regularly inconvenient bit of design. Finally have enough points for that next skill mod? Time to fast travel back to base (cue long load time), walk to the appropriate wing of the base for the upgrade you want to purchase, fast travel back to the safe house nearest to where you just were (another long load), and then finally walk back to the exact location of whatever you were doing. I’m sure that sequence was annoying just to read, and it’s doubly annoying to actually do – and you’ll be doing it for however long it takes you to unlock every skill (which I still haven’t done at max level)."

Alone in the Dark

"Sadly, once you do hit the level cap of 30, The Division’s endgame is pretty thin. The only new(ish) type of content you get access to is daily challenges, which consist of replaying the same story missions with even spongier enemies. Not so thrilling. What can be thrilling at this stage is diving into the Dark Zone, because it’s the only place in the entire game where you can actually run into other players in a dynamic setting and see unpredictable things happen."


"Sadly, once you do hit the level cap of 30, The Division’s endgame is pretty thin. The only new(ish) type of content you get access to is daily challenges, which consist of replaying the same story missions with even spongier enemies. Not so thrilling. What can be thrilling at this stage is diving into the Dark Zone, because it’s the only place in the entire game where you can actually run into other players in a dynamic setting and see unpredictable things happen."

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